Saturday, 28 October 2017

Life will forever be filled with good and bad. It's your choice how it defines you.

Miscarriages can rock your world in so many different ways. For us, this couldn't be truer. Our two miscarriages were so completely different, and we had polar opposite reactions, feelings, emotions and experience to go along with them. But let's go back to the beginning. We spent most of our trying to conceive years not getting pregnant, not once, not even one faint pink line. We're talking 5+ years- from late 2008 to early 2014 wondering why - we were "healthy", everything was there and in working order, so WTF.

We went through a horrendous round of IVF that answered a question we weren't even asking. We were merely told: you're unhealthy and you're making shitty embryos. Not by our doctors, they just said it was one of those things, and nothing could be done (read more about that journey here). But we couldn't be naive about the four low grade, very fragmented embryos. So we took matters into our own hands, switching clinics and went onto a Paleo type diet. Our next round of IVF was much more successful - 5 healthy embryos, but we were still left with a BFN, and our unexplained infertility was still the elephant in the room. We finally did immune testing (which we were told we weren't candidates for because I didn't have reassuring miscarriages) and there it was, our answer - THE answer - High NK Cells. My bodies immune system was so out of whack; it wasn't even entertaining the idea of allowing a foreign invader hang around. But this didn't mean I never got sick- far from it (you can read more about that here).

Because it took us so long to find our answer, you can imagine there was a lot of time spent confused, angry, hurt, and well let's just face it - drunk as f*ck. So when I finally woke up to the fact that all these emotions weren't doing me any favours, I went on an emotional Hippy journey to get my happiness back (you can read more about that here). Infertility had taken over my life and not in a very positive way. So I started journaling, meditating, yoga and just trying to be an overall better person. Along with this, we worked hard on our new diet and used immune surprising drugs and went to do our first Frozen Embryo Transfer. Two weeks later we got the phone call that it all had paid off and we FINALLY got our first BFP.
During the three week wait we were posted to a small beach village in the north of Wales and now lived 4 hours from our clinic. So the morning of our seven-week scan, we were up early to drive to the clinic and then making our way down to London for a day enjoying the tennis at Wimbledon. I was grateful that my husband was there with me (something that doesn't always happen) and hopes were high. I can't really say I felt pregnant, but I was just trying to stay as positive and not focus on symptoms. Our clinic is small, homely place, so we didn't wait long, and I soon found myself in the familiar position of being half dressed, legs up and spread open wide! But that's where the fun ended, and our dreams were once again smashed. The nurse said she needed to call the doctor in, which is never a good sign. The doctor confirmed there was no heartbeat and that was that. 

Tears did fall, but not hard. The hippy journey I talked about before helped me to to be grateful that my body was able to get pregnant. Something I thought for six years couldn't happen. I know most women don't want to hear "well at least you know you can get pregnant." I get it and respect that, but for me, that's ALL I wanted to know. So as we drove down to London obviously deflated, but we talked about the future, and it looked bright. The next day we had a good time at Wimbledon, sat in the rain getting drunk on beer not watching much tennis. Looking back it was probably the most appropriate situation to be in to suit our mood(s). 

I decided to have a natural miscarriage, as I had had enough of strangers looking up my lady parts and couldn't bear the thought of any more hospital time. It took a few weeks for my body to process all the synthetic hormones and start the process. Not sure why my clinic didn't warn me, maybe it's not their area of expertise - but f*ck me. Long story short, I basically went into a mini labour - contractions and all and passed a small sack. To say the least, it all came as a big shock and hurt like hell. To make matters worse, I was on my own in a tiny remote village in North Wales. So a day of hell quickly claimed down, and the next day I went out like nothing ever happened. I felt good and was happy that it was all said and done. 

Needless to say, I overdid it, and at 3 am the next morning I started to bleed heavily and ended up driving myself 30 minutes to the ER, just in case something was really wrong. I had zero knowledge about what was going on; I didn't even Google early miscarriage at any point from finding out there was no heartbeat. I let my husband know what was going on via text and 12 hours later I was given the all clear and drove myself home to have a few days of complete rest - luckily I did the shopping the day before - insert roll of the eyes here. I was grateful I knew the pregnancy wasn't viable before all this happened - I had a few weeks to work on the emotional side of dealing with it all, so the fact I had to deal with the physical side by myself was that much more manageable. 
So my first pregnancy and my first miscarriage go hand in hand. As sad as it may have seemed, the whole situation gave me my hope back. It gave me the drive to keep fighting. Because to be honest I don't think I would have had any left if I didn't get pregnant on that round. I now knew focusing on my health outweighed all the inconvenience and decided to even go deeper with my journaling, meditation, yoga and diet - going full AIP. I committed to absolutely NO cheat days January 1st, 2015 - a whole three months before we started our second FET. All the hard work and scarifies paid off (along with the support of immune-suppressing drugs) - December 2, 2015 (7 years after we started our journey) we welcomed a beautiful baby boy into our family.

I truly believed that the diet and lifestyle changes not only helped us achieve our goal but also was going to put us on the right path of improving not only my fertility health but my overall long-term health. So when we went into our third and final FET, we were highly confident and I once again committed to (as such as possible with a toddler in tow) a clean lifestyle three months before we started the process. We made it through and got another positive result. But it was short-lived, a week later I had an early miscarriage, which came on quickly and to be honest, nothing worse than a regular period. I arranged for a confirmation scan (that's what I called it) at my clinic a few days later. Luckily the scan was conclusive, and no signs of an ectopic pregnancy were present. They took blood, and my beta came back at 10. I was asked to come back in for another blood test (they like to see it at 0). I politely declined and said I was confident my body would get there and felt confident that it was on it's way to being all said and done. 

So that was it, THE END and it was the end of a very long emotional and expensive journey. So physically this miscarriage was quicker and easier, but it hit was harder emotionally in a few different ways. One- we were overly confident that it was going to work. We thought we knew the correct formula (having achieved a successful outcome before), we did everything "right" in regards to diet and lifestyle and had not only one, but two beautiful embryos put back in. Surely at least ONE of them would stay strong- right? Secondly; it was our last embryos we had on ice, so in our heads that was our last shot - we had already decided we weren't going to do any more treatment. Again, my hippy journey helped me to stay grateful that we were walking away from it all with a beautiful, healthy baby boy and I was beyond happy with that. 
I will always wonder what those two babies (along with the four embryos that were put back in, before we found out about my overactive immune system) would have been, but it's not something I think of often- to be honest, I can't even remember my due dates. The emotions dealing with the two failed IVFs and the two miscarriages will forever be a part of me, but I've chosen to put my life into perspective. This has had a very powerful and positive effect on my life. I've decided to live my life along these lines: "The Universe does not deal in kindness and cruelty. Defining the experience is your karma." - J. Rush. As much as the years of BFNs and not knowing were hard, the two failed IVFs were frustrating, and the two miscarriages were painful, I personally feel it wasn't and still isn't the worst thing that can happen in life. Not that its a comparison or a competition to who had it worst, not at all - I know some have had it a lot harder and a lot easier. It's simply just the way I've decided to define my experience. I've chosen to walk away from it all, with the understanding that life will forever be filled with good and bad, but it's your choice how it defines you. 
If you'd like any support on your own journey or have any questions Let's Talk
Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone though. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor and all medical advice, should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), go find one that is!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Commitment Quotes - Free Printable


Over the recent weeks, I’ve talked to two different friends who have been struggling with keeping the commitment to improving their health - especially through nutrition. One is having fertility issues and the other is having "normal" day issues that are getting worse and worse. It surprises me that these commitments are so hard to make when so much is at stake - your health!! But then I remind myself, I’ve been there and it’s hard. It’s hard to come to terms that you’re not the girl who is going to eat a bunch of shit and be healthy or at least seem to be healthy - like not having gut issues or memory issues or joint pain or not being able to get pregnant by your partner just looking at you - HELL, not even by your first round of IVF - yep that was me!! 

I understand that one conversation or even many conversations might not change or inspired the way my friends think about nutrition and health, as with both of my friends - it hasn’t. We're talking about years that they’ve been having these issues and still not being able to commit to the level of change that’s going to make a difference in their life. So I thought - what could I do to help them and inspire them to commit to their self this changes and stop being the nagging friend? I know I get really inspired by affirmations and different quotes I see on IG and hear on different podcasts. (Great one - The Quote of the Day ShowSo I thought why not make them a few commitment quote cards, that they can put around the house and be inspired on a daily, maybe even on an hourly basis to keep to the commits they keep talking about wanting to make. 
Put them around the house for daily reminders.
To make your own commitment cards, simply print (get them here for free), cut them out. Optional - back them with a fun colorful background and laminate.Then put them around the house where you'll get a daily, sometimes hourly reminder of the commitments you've made to improve your fertility health. You can also put them in your handbag next to your wallet, so when you go to buy something you know you shouldn't be eating/drinking you can be inspired to resist the urge. They're also handy in any other space where you spend a lot of your time, like in the office or car!! I’ve made a few different styles of cards because my friends are totally different. One is religious and one is not and its all about finding what they connect with the most. 

What's going to inspire you to commit to loving yourself enough to make some big changes? 
Choose Your Style of Commitment -


Watercolour Background by Carolina Garofani
Get yours here @ fertilityhealthcoaching.com
and subscribe to your email list for all Freebie updates!
If you'd like any support on your own journey or have any questions Let's Talk
Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone though. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor and all medical advice, should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), go find one that is!

Friday, 6 October 2017

Take Them With You- Sweet Potato Egg Muffins by: Alexa

Who couldn’t use a little extra convenience these days? Whether you are off to fight traffic to get to work or drop your little ones off at school, adults and kids both struggle to get in a wholesome, but quick breakfast option on fast-paced mornings. These Sweet Potato Egg Muffins are perfect for this scenario!

Eggs are one of the best foods for us. They offer a source of complete protein and (harmless) cholesterol. Pastured eggs are especially beneficial, providing us with Vitamin K2 and a bounty of other vitamins and minerals to support our skin, brain, and bones, plus protect us against cancer and heart disease. I eat three eggs every morning as part of a substantial breakfast!
If you are on the AIP diet, eggs are one of the first reintroductions suggested. 
If tolerated, they are an amazing food to incorporate back into your diet!

These muffins take little time to prepare, but they can fuel you all week long. 
Simply make a batch and refrigerate. You can eat these cold or warm them up. 


Directions
  1. Fill a small pot with enough water to cover the sweet potato, and bring to a boil. S the potato and add it to the boiling water.
  2. While the sweet potato is boiling, dice enough yellow onion to make 2 TBSP, and add to a medium-sized bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Also, line a (6) cupcake tin with baking cups.
  3. Once you are able to pierce the sweet potato with a fork, remove it from the water and pat dry. Cut into small, bite-sized chunks and add to the bowl.
  4. Stir everything together and divide the mixture evenly into the cupcake tin.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. Optional step: Beat the eggs before combining with the rest of the ingredients for fluffier muffins.

If you opt not to beat the eggs, the muffins will still come out just as tasty. While this combination of sweet potato and onion works well, swapping out other veggies you prefer (or have on hand, or you need to use up) will be just fine. Plus, switching the veggies out and/or adding meat keeps you from getting bored of the same flavors each week.
Making egg breakfast muffins is a lifesaver for my family who needs a quick source of fuel during the week. What are some tips you have for convenience on busy mornings?


Alexa is the owner and writer of her blog, Girl in Healing, where she strives to teach those newly diagnosed with autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease and Ulcerative colitis the power of a real food lifestyle. She will be a practicing AIP Certified Coach and Nutritional Therapy Practitioner by the end of 2017. You can follow along with her on InstagramFacebookPinterest, and Twitter.

Little Man loved getting involved and told me that the raw sweet potato was yummy!
Our first batch of Alex's Sweet Potato Egg Muffins were delicious and easy to make. We weren't in a rush, so we added some fresh avocado and Raw Sauerkraut from Loving Foods - but for sure looking forward to having these for on the go meals! Thanks Alex for creating and sharing!!

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Secondary Infertility

I got the honour of doing a guest post for Helen at Secondary Infertility Matters
Check out the great work she's doing over at Secondary Infertility Matters

Secondary Infertility Matters

INFORMATION AND SUPPORT FOR COUPLES STRUGGLING TO EXTEND THEIR FAMILY. SECONDARY INFERTILITY IS STILL INFERTILITY.

You’ve had a baby (congratulations)! Maybe it wasn’t planed or you know the exact moment of conception – either way you’ve done it once and you’ve now set out to do it again. But the same formula that worked before isn’t working and the frustration, doubt and sadness is setting in. Diana E. Chavkin MD said it best, “having a child once is not a magic potion that guarantees eternal fertility.” So you go to your doctors and they’ve diagnosed you with secondary infertility – “finding it difficult to conceive or carry a pregnancy to term, despite already having had a child without any trouble.” You’re sat there with a funny look on your face, because you could have told your doc that yourself. “But Why” is the question you want answered and if you’re lucky enough, you have an amazing doctor who’s going to find the root cause of why. If you don’t you’ll have to do the digging yourself! Let’s look into a  few different reasons why secondary infertility happens.

An issue that has got worse since your last pregnancy
For many women, their first pregnancy was a happy surprise as they “weren’t even trying.” And when looking at the big picture, it might have been a stroke of luck – as conception is a numbers game, up to a certain point. If you were lucky the first time, you might have assumed that meant that everything was in full working order, when maybe it wasn’t. A few years have pasted and life’s stresses have inflamed your hidden issue. Issues like PCOS, endometriosis and autoimmune issues effecting the thyroid and immune system, can flareup, or even present themselves for the first time.

Your last pregnancy it self
Pregnancy, giving birth and caring for a baby are all big deals, but are often downplayed by modern society. They can individually or collectively have a big impact on your body and can trigger underlining issue, especially on your hormones, thyroid and adrenals.
Old wounds, like scar tissue from a caesarean or previous surgery, can sometimes create  blockages in the womb. A post-partum haemorrhage or a retained placenta, which can cause infection in the womb and block the fallopian tubes, can all be factors and have an big impact on fertility.

Life
Something traumatic could have happen after the birth of your last child or your body has reached a point where it can’t deal all the stressors you’re putting on it (we all have different tipping points), which can unexpectedly knock you’re body out of line, leading to hormonal imbalance and autoimmune issues.

Age and Health
And lets not forget the classic diagnosis of old age, embryo & sperm quality, diet choices and weight issues, which we all know can all have an impact on your fertility.
When your struggling to conceive again, it can cause an enormous amount of stress and anxiety. But finding your root case is essential to your success. When you do find all the pieces to the puzzle, you’ll be able to focus on what needs to be done to fix it. Everyone will be different and remember, for most of us there’s no quick fix- you’ll have to put in the hard work and rewire your fertility links. 


Working with a specialist is the best way to untangle the web of confusing information, but here are a few tips to get you started.

Old Wounds-
If you think issues maybe linked to scar tissue, a post-partum haemorrhage, retained placenta or blocked tubes, please seek medical help.

Diet
Find out what foods work and don’t work for you! The cheep (but long) route is an elimination diet or your Functional Medicine Practitioner, FDNer or Doctor can run food sensitive tests for you. This is key in restoring peace and cutting out inflammation. Go organic (grass fed) and non-GMO with as much of your food as you can afford and try to add in grass fed animal (chicken, beef or lamb) bone broth 2 to 3 times a week and eat the organs- Totally gross, but a MUST for optimal health.

Take Care of your Gut
It all starts in the gut – a healthy gut dramatically improves your health & fertility. Also, your growing babies’ digestive tract will be colonized by the same bacteria in your gut – how amazing is that!?! This is simply done (again) by eating clean, being conscious about how much sugar you’re having a day and supporting good bacteria by eating Lacto-Fermented Foods or taking a good probiotic (not those silly yogurt drinks)!

Movement and Sleep
Keep moving – Yoga, Walking, Weight Lifting, Swimming – Get your heart rate up! Find what works best for you and do it 3 to 5 times a week! Try not to over do it – if you have adrenal issues, hitting it hard at the gym is one of the worst things for your body. And then Sleep. Sleep is one of the most underrated habits you can do for your health. Find what works for you – I’m a 7 to 9 hours type of girl & that works great for me! I do find that if I go to bed later than midnight, I feel like a zombie, even if I get 7 hours. If this sounds familiar to try to get to bed before 10 pm, as every hour before midnight is worth two hours.

Take Control of your Emotions and De-Stress
Two things that I learned about emotions, during my journey- 1: Take responsibility for your emotions- Sorry, but the excuse that someone made you feel that way is BS- no one can make you feel something. 2: Acknowledge your emotions- give them the support they need and then let them go. Once I embraced these two little nuggets of knowledge, my journey became a little less rocky and I became a little less vulnerable. The knowledge that I had full control over how I reacted to the events that have and will unfold in my life completely changed the way I looked at the world around me. This helped me to reduce stress my life and not sweat the small stuff. Meditate daily. Five minutes or an hour- Just do it- It will change your life and it’s FREE (the only thing that is, in this process)!! Think meditation is for hippies? Read 10% Happier: How I Tamed the Voice in My Head, Reduced Stress Without Losing My Edge, and Found Self-Help That Actually Works: A True Story. Take walks outside, read a book, engage in a hobby, take time for yourself- it’s a must!!

If you'd like any support on your own journey or have any questions Let's Talk
Please remember that this is simply my story and what I have gone though. These are my opinions, that I have formed over the years, through trial and error, study, reading, listening and observing. I am open to change, challenges and new scientific developments. What works for me, may not work for you. I am not a doctor and all medical advice, should be gotten from a qualified professional. If you feel like your doctor isn't reading from the same nutrition and lifestyle book as you are (or want to be), go find one that is!

Friday, 23 June 2017

#gratedvegbrekkie

I heard somewhere that breakfast was the most important meal not to f*ck up. Is this true? Well, lets look at it this way: A lot of “breakfast” foods can give you blood sugar spikes and if done frequently, this can wear out your insulin systems - causing you to gain weight, increasing your chances of insulin resistance & diabetes. But we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here. Let’s go back to the blood sugar instability part - this can be one of the reasons why an empty carbohydrate breakfast can leave you even hungrier by mid-miring and you end up eating more!

If you're like most - in a hurry and find yourself throwing some bits of wheat in a bow with low-fat milk inexplicably poured onto them or munching on a toasted pastry or donut, you're probably better off skipping breakfast altogether. It's likely to be more healthy to forego that morning meal, as long as you're not eating similar un-healthy foods later. So IF you want to eat breakfast, what can you have that's going to set you up for a productive morning and maybe even well into early afternoon? Vegetables- of course (along with some protein, health fats & probiotics)! We all know the importance of vegetables and if you want all the geek facts goggle it,;)

When it comes to breakfast, you don’t naturally think of vegetables and when I tell people that I eat vegetables for breakfast, they think I’m truly nuts and if you’re still reading this, you’re probably thinking the same thing or are now intrigued. Either way, the past few years of eating vegetables for breakfast has lead me to the #gratedvegbrekkie revolution. That’s right graters aren’t just for cheese, in fact my grater is the most used kitchen tool in my household. Grating your vegetables obviously reduces the size of the veg. So that means you don’t have to do all the hard work of chewing your food properly in the morning- WIN, because who has time for that. Also, grating your vegetables makes it taste different- seriously! I don’t like cabbage in the morning, but if I grate it I love it - it’s weird, I know! 

A few tips about incorporating vegetables into your breakfast:
1.You need to get over the mental block of what foods are "breakfast foods". The breakfast advertising people have done a damn good job of making you think that breakfast comes from a box. 
2.Start with the vegetables you can stomach in the morning. There's NO WAY I could have eaten 1/2 of the vegetables I eat now - I ate a lot of cooked spinach & broccoli in the beginning. 
3.Make a commitment to cook yourself a #gratedvegbrekkie 2 or 3 times a week - start on a day when you’re not in a rush & give yourself some extra time to begin with too, over time you’ll be able to cook a full grated vegetable brekkie in 15 mins flat every day!

What to cook with:
Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil and I sometimes use Olive Oil - Butter & Ghee and my go to thou!


Vegetables You Can Grate:
Butternut Squash, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Courgette (Zucchini), Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Beets


Add Extra Flavour with:
Garlic or Ginger
Other Vegetables to Add:
Mushrooms, Green Beans, Asparagus, Spinach, Onions & Broccoli
What goes nicely with your #gratedvegbrekkie:
Avocado, Berries, Sweet Potato Mash Poached Egg, Real Bacon or any “leftovers” grass fed meat & Sauerkraut (of course)!

Follow along on Instagram @positive_fertility for daily #gratedvegbrekkie inspiration -


"It only took me less than 15 mins to make from frig to plate - 2 pans to cook in - SIMPLES - Let's see your #gratedvegbrekkie (it's a thing now)!!"

Monday, 19 June 2017

(in)fertility entrepreneurs - behind adversity is an opportunity

ad|ver¦sity – noun - a difficult or unpleasant situation

When you’re faced with adversity what do you do?
-Make lemonade, of course!! And then set up a glorious lemonade stand and support your of #ttcsisters through their journey!

Of course it doesn’t happen exactly like that- first you’re excited about starting a family and then a few years down the line you’re feeling isolated, sad, confused and frustrated. Then you crawl your way out of the hole you dug yourself into and dig deep and find strength in a passion - writing, designing, creating, nutrition or mindfulness. Then all of a sudden your passion becomes bigger than yourself and the desire to share becomes a business you never knew you had the strength to create. Here’s seven successful (in)fertility entrepreneurs and their adversity inspired stories & businesses:


Hello - My name is Christina Oberon and I wanted to share on the topic of infertility and how I have channeled the pain associated with going through it by teaming up with a small business to spread awareness and instill hope in others going through the same thing.

Being the daughter of a woman who has 11 children, the aunt to 18 nieces and nephews, and the desire to nurture everyone around me, I never would have thought in a million years that I would find myself unable to conceive and create a life of my own to nurture. I suppose that is the irony of life sometimes.  It has been a little over three years since my husband and I have been trying to conceive.  For the first two years we took a holistic approach and tried a variety of methods that included diet change, exercise, yoga, travel, essential oils, acupuncture – you name it, we tried it!
 
I had a HSG done in June 2016 which showed some abnormalities with my uterus and one blocked tube which was cleared.  After several more months of unsuccessful acupuncture, we then moved on to fertility treatments in early 2017 which resulted in multiple unsuccessful Intrauterine Inseminations (IUI).  Our next step this year will be In vitro fertilization (IVF) which I am anxious to begin.  The entire process will cause you to lose hope, strength and faith at times.  Over time, and once the stages of disbelief and denial subsided, a deep pain and overwhelming sadness had developed but I could not allow myself to drown in it or accept the fact so many others live with the same pain.  I knew I had to confront this often privately kept topic and create something to bring courage and hope, rather than despair to those struggling to start a family. 

In December 2016, I stopped into the MaeMae Jewelry store in the cute town of Atwater Village in Los Angeles.  Each of the jewelry designs come with an inspirational message- a personal meaning and I thought it would be amazing to have the same concept geared towards fertility.  I was chatting with the owner and started sharing my struggle to conceive and the heavy burden it had placed on my heart and my growing desire to bring hope to others.  I remember casually saying, You should create a fertility lineand without hesitation and to my surprise, she said, Do you want to do it together?
For the next several months we went through my own personal journey to motherhood, brainstormed, designed and created this fertility line which has evoked so much hope and inspiration in me in the process and so many other women since Infertility Awareness Week (April 23-29, 2017) when we launched it.  What is even more beautiful to me is that the pieces provide support through hope, faith, and loss on many levels, not just infertility, as you will see when you look at the pieces.  I once read that vulnerability is the only bridge to build connection and I have found that through connecting with others, we invite healing of our own wounds.  Though I am still working on creating life within me, my heart swells knowing I have created hope within others.
 Connect with Christina & MaeMae Jewelry at:

Hi – I’m Amy! I discovered I had fertility problems when I came off the pill and had gaps of 4-6 months between cycles.  I was diagnosed with PCOS and experienced many of its joys -weight gain, acne, male pattern baldness and all sorts. I was prescribed clomid, but responded to it too aggressively and experienced hyperstimulation of my ovaries.  I was advised the IVF wouldn't be a recommended course of action in light of this, so I went on the list to have ovarian drilling. While on the wait list I became pregnant, but sadly lost baby 1 within a week of having my first BFP. The following cycle I had my second BFP, but that also resulted in a crushing loss. Two cycles later I found myself pregnant with my now three year old little lady. Three years, ending in three pregnancies in four cycles - it was something of an intense time for us, and something I don't think I've entirely made peace with. 

At the same time as this, two of my best friends were undergoing rounds of IVF and fertility treatment themselves.  One of them was about to have their sixth cycle and would talk about the absence of support by way of cards and momentos and encouraged me to think about starting a line of cards to support women like us at all stages on their fertility journey. Hello Treacle was born last autumn, when I finally plucked up the courage to do it.
 
So, what started as a few cards has grown somewhat.  I now offer various fertility and infertility related cards, as well as some bright and fun IVF milestone cards for mums in waiting to document their journey on my Esty Shop. I design, print, package and send everything from my little home studio. The only exceptions are my milestone cards, which are professionally printed, but still processed and packed by me.

All of my cards are produced on 100% recycled paper and our envelopes use only vegan friendly glue.  I care greatly about bringing children into this world and believe that we must do all we can to ensure they have a beautiful planet to live on.Aside of fertility items, I'm now offering badges, prints, enamel pins and soon mirrors.  I'm looking to expand my offering of fertility items, including mirrors, pouches and jotters - lots of plans for later in the year.

Mr Treacle is my true partner in crime, my best friend, an amazing father and my number one cheerleader.  He helps package orders, completes post runs, does the housework so I can focus on doing what I do while I'm still working as well.
Connect with Amy at:
Etsy - Instagram: @hellotreaclestore 
PkvPrint became a reality about a year ago.  We were in the process of learning the results of our CCS testing on our embryos and finalizing our adoption with our little girl within a very short time period.  I was full of emotions!  I had taken nearly every avenue to start a family and realized I didn't really have a keepsake at all.  I had deleted photos, thrown away hospital bands, and didn't have the positive attitude to save anything.  So I started to search for the perfect shirt to describe my feelings about infertility.  I searched "F*ck Infertility" and came up with nothing.  And so our journey began.  We started with the "F*ck Infertility" shirts and it just snow-balled from there.  A lot of our customers gave us plenty of awesome ideas too!


After six long years (and still going), we have yet to be pregnant.  We have one frozen, normal, low-grade embryo left.  And that will be the end of it on that route for us.  We've given it everything after having being diagnosed with nearly everything in the book.  PCOS, Endometriosis, crap eggs, low-sperm counts, motility, mobility, etc.  It all lead us to turn to Foster Care to build our family.  We now spend our days running our own businesses (my husband co-owns a construction business, and I also have a photography business), running after our adopted and funniest 2-year-old in the world, and giving EXTRA love to the foster kids that come into our home.  This was not how I imagined my family would be, but now I couldn't see it any other way.  I once read a story where an adoptive mom was asked, "Do you ever regret not having your own children?" and the mom said she started to tear up and panic, saying, "No, then I wouldn't have her..."  And I feel the same way every day.  Best of luck on any journey you take to build your family!!

Connect with PkvPrint at: 
PkvPrint - Instagram: @pkvprint - Twitter: @pkvprint - Pinterest - Facebook
Life has thrown me around and knocked me down with grief, loss and fertility issues, and in doing so it has forced me to look deep within whilst exploring a new path.  My own experiences of two miscarriages resulting in surgery,  followed by an ectopic pregnancy which, due to internal bleeding, required emergency removal of my left fallopian tube, have left me somewhat broken and isolated.  “Baby, I Am Great” was inspired by the most remarkable lady I met on a Macrobiotics course (Nicky Clinch) who shared her affirmations in spite of facing her own immense battles – she taught me the power of an “I Am” statement, whilst the course helped me to connect to my own inner truth and led me closer to mindfulness and meditation. 
Consequently, I have created 2 beautiful gifts containing either a set of 30 Fertility Mindfulness Cards and a Fertility Hope Bracelet to accompany the tough journey through trying to conceive, or during IVF / FET’s/IUI – or, a pack of 10 Babyloss Healing Cards with a Hope Bracelet to offer support after the heartbreak of miscarriage.   The silk red cord of the bracelet has its own profound meaning in my life, and is something that offered me Hope when I most needed it; so much so, that I had the Hebrew word, Tikvah, permanently inked on my side.  A story to be shared another time perhaps…
 Connect with Baby, I’m Great at:
FertileGirl is a pre-pregnancy nutrition company here to change the conversation about fertility and empower women to make healthy choices.  The company was born out of my personal fertility journey. After struggling to get pregnant, I focused on managing my stress and eating healthier, even making my own snack bars after researching the best nutrients for women trying to conceive.  I also stopped treating fertility like a big secret and started talking--to friends, specialists anyone that would listen.  FertileGirl started as an online community for other women on their own fertility journeys and has evolved into a consumer foods brand that just launched its first product, FertileGirl’s superfood nutrition bars.  We donate a portion of our proceeds to Baby Quest Foundation, a nonprofit that provides fertility grants to couple who can’t afford the high price of fertility treatments.
 

 Connect with Allison at:

Instagram: @fertilegirl - Facebook - FertileGirl 
While we were initially building our blog- For the Love of Joy, I started having a vision for it to grow into a shop. Dreams of graphic tees, mugs, and pineapple everything was all I could think about! Happy. Joyful. Fun. I wanted so bad to simply spread as much encouragement and joy into the TTC Community as I could. With the start of our blog and IVF soon after that, the timing just wasn't right and the shop would need to wait. 

Unfortunately, our first FET resulted in a twin pregnancy that would miscarry at 13.5 weeks. This was our first known miscarriage and after all of the hope that IVF offered my heart, I knew I needed some time to recover. Recover emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I needed time. To help with the healing process, I decided it was a great time to start that little Joy Shop. So, what was first in thought so long ago, was now going to come to fruition. 


So, the creation of the Joy Shop was truly fulfilling its purpose from the get go. I was the first one it brought encouragement and joy to during my time of loss and healing. Now, it brings that same hope to people finding themselves in need of something good to come their way. 
Connect with Jil at: 
My fertility journey has been a long one – eight years and counting! So here’s the cliff notes (you can read the long version here): 3 years ttc naturally – never once a BFP. No major issues found with either of us (I had a lowish AMH score) – doc said we were fit and health & simply had unexplained infertility. 1 shambles of an IVF, which left us thinking we couldn’t even make health embryos. We spent a year dramatically changing our diet and life style. Second IVF was a much better, 5 healthy embryos – one put back in, I didn’t even make it 28days. More testing (which we fought for) and my unexplained became an autoimmune issue (High NK Cells) and we set off to do our first FET with immune surprising drugs = our first EVERY BFP! Sadly it ended in an early miscarriage, but we were hopeful. Took a few months off to recover and did another dramatic diet change to an AIP. Our second FET with immune surprising drugs resulted in our beautiful baby boy. We did our last FET with immune surprising drugs in April 2017 with our reaming 2 embryos, which sadly resulted in another early miscarriage. We’re done with medical help and were now focusing on staying health and reducing my High NK Cells through diet and lifestyle. We’d love to get pregnant naturally, but if it doesn’t happen it’s okay. We feel overly blessed with our little man and are overjoyed to be walking away from it all with him in our arms.

So, my 8 year journey has lead me to Fertility Health Coaching- were I hope to help, inspire and empower other women to take control of their fertility health. I write about my journey and struggles, along with health information related to all different types of fertility issues (there's loads of amazing guest bloggers too). I’m a qualified health coach and work with individual clients, along with running a group coaching program called The 30 day Fertility Health Reboot Crash Course. I’ve also designed a 5 Year Positive Fertility Journal for all types of fertility journeys, called Find Your Silver Lining". I wish I had this during my entire journey!! I started making it right before our final FET and it was amazing to have during the process and miscarriage – it totally helped me to stay positive through what was a really tough time. It’s a free DIY printable for now, but I’m working on making it a premade book for you to buy and own (so watch this space).

Connected with me at:
Fertility Health Coaching - Instagram: @positive_fertility - Pinterest - Facebook